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Study estimates Bitcoin energy consumption is on par with Switzerland

By Humza · 5 replies
Jul 5, 2019
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  1. The University of Cambridge launched an online tool this week: Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (CBECI), which estimates in real-time, energy needed to maintain the Bitcoin network and outputs its annual consumption using this data.

    "The index has been developed in response to growing concerns over the sustainability and environmental impact of Bitcoin mining, which relies on computation-heavy cryptographic operations that require significant amounts of electricity. Reliable estimates of Bitcoin’s electricity usage are rare: in most cases, they only provide a one-time snapshot and the numbers often show substantial discrepancies from one model to another," the university notes in its announcement of the CBECI.

    At present, the Bitcoin network is found to be using around 7 gigawatts of electricity that approximates to 0.21% of the world's supply. It updates the estimate in 30 second intervals and uses an average electricity price per kilowatt hour ($0.05, £0.04) while assuming various efficiency values for Bitcoin mining machines worldwide. A lower and upper bound value (refreshed in real-time) is displayed alongside the estimated figure resulting in a rather wide spread. Currently a 2.66 lower bound and 21.58 upper bound value suggests that the estimate of 7.11 gigawatts should be taken with a pinch of salt.

    "We want to use comparisons that set the narrative," said Michel Rauchs, the tool's co-creator, adding that visitors to the website can "make up their own mind" as to whether the figures seem large or small.

    To come up with the annual estimate, the tool assumes constant power usage over the period of one year. It also applies a 7-day moving average to this figure to "smoothen the impact of short-term hashrate volatility and enable better comparisons with other uses of electricity."

    According to the University of Cambridge, the tool has been designed as a "first step toward a more comprehensive analysis of the environmental footprint of the cryptocurrency mining industry," with an interactive geographical map of global mining facilities to be added in the second phase that will "explore the energy sources used and provide a more accurate assessment of Bitcoin’s total carbon emissions."

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  2. Ludak021

    Ludak021 TS Rookie Posts: 22   +8

    That means a lot more money for energy companies. That electricity isn't free. Some btc miners even founded the creation of more geo thermal energy producing facilities, which means jobs. There really is no downside to this unless you want to stop someone from doing something just because you think the Earth will die, or you just don't understand what they are doing.

    Their money, their risk, it doesn't affect you, leave them be.
  3. Kashim

    Kashim TS Booster Posts: 99   +81

    The whole idea that bitcoin created jobs because of its incredibly high energy requirements is utterly ridiculous. And to say "there really is no downside to this" is ludicrous. Maybe if you don't considering the enormous environmental impact from all that wasted energy then I suppose there's no downside to it.
  4. Markoni35

    Markoni35 TS Booster Posts: 196   +93

    That's exactly what I thought... BitCoin is anti-ecological. It's contributing to CO2 emissions, because a lot of energy is produced from fossil and nuclear sources. And even it wasn't, it's still stealing energy from other, more useful, applications. On top of that, it's converting most of that energy to heat. And for what? Doing tons of useless computations.

    If at least those computations had some usage, like cancer research, space signal analysis (for SETI), solving unsolved math problems, optimizing industrial process, training artificial intelligence, anything... then it would be justified. But it's just a huge waste of energy and processing power.

    BitCoin is an ecological disaster.
  5. McMurdeR

    McMurdeR TS Addict Posts: 144   +115

    Ouch! The taxman will be sniffing around that soon enough.
  6. Ludak021

    Ludak021 TS Rookie Posts: 22   +8

    it not only created jobs, it created the whole new economy around it and put food on the tables of many people. And give me a break with wasted energy. Energy not used = wasted. If you want to talk about that, let's talk about how our huge ongoing fusion reactor is wasted. It gives us free energy that we barley use. It also heats up all the planets and is radioactive as f***. Go protest that.

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